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New series debut: The Killing on AMC and iTunes

In television on 04/06/2011 at 10:04 am

(Spoiler alert: Why watch the trailer when you can watch the first two episodes online right now? See below)

Series name
The Killing

Debuted
Sunday, April 10 at 10 p.m. ET on AMC and Monday, April 11 on iTunes (first two episodes can be viewed on the AMC site right now)

Regularly airs
Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on AMC, Mondays on iTunes

Premise
Set in Seattle, the murder of a female high-school student pins together three worlds: the grieving parents, a female detective trying to move on to life after murder investigations and her replacement/partner, and the murder suspects. The investigation will take up all 13 episodes of Season One.

Primary cast and crew
Brent Sexton (very busy TV character actor who has had runs in Justified, Life and Deadwood) is the father, Fred Larsen

Michelle Forbes (True Blood, Durham County) is the mom, Mitch Larsen.

Mireille Enos (Big Love) is Det. Sarah Linden, who is working her last shift before moving to San Diego to start a new life and plan her wedding.

Joel Kinnaman (Swedish, star of something called Snabba Cash aka Easy Money) is Det. Stephen Holder, Linden’s replacement, a former wunderkind cop who graduated from the academy right into undercover narcotics work and now wants to start over. He is willing to bend the rules, but how far and at what cost?

But what do I know anyway? After having seen the first two episodes on iTunes …
I started watching the two-episode opener prepared to hit Stop the moment it went all creepy/gore porn/Criminal Minds, but, well I guess I can’t say I was pleasantly surprised but this is a crime series that has its eyes on telling a story and not just shocking or grossing out viewers. Based on an acclaimed Danish TV series, this series will take the whole 13-episode season to cover this one crime. Details are slowly meted out, both of the characters and the crime, giving me the immediate assurance that I am in the hands of storytellers who know what they’re doing. The performances provide an interesting range. The actors playing the father and mother are very familiar faces — Brent Sexton and Michelle Forbes — and put in solid work in harrowing scenes. But it’s the detectives, unknown to me, who were stunningly good. I had the pinch-me feeling of knowing that actress Mireille Enos is not a detective paralysed by life choices and gut-punched by this one last case, but she expertly disappeared into Det. Sarah Linden. Ditto her ex-narc partner, played by Joel Kinnaman, who matches her haunted intensity with a why-so-serious veneer carefully propped atop the conscientious (though not unbending) detective he is. Other reasons I like this show: it has one of my fave actors, Callum Keith Rennie, playing the soon to be long suffering fiance of Det. Linden; and it’s shot in Vancouver, complete with what’s become the signature steel-coloured, dread-infused look and feel of Vancouver-shot shows from X-Files through Battlestar Galactica and Da Vinci’s Inquest. But, back to the story: Remember details in the first moments of the opening episode and I say this not as a spoiler but in the hopes that the red herrings will be few and that careful viewer attention will be rewarded as the terrible story of a teenager’s murder will continue to be beautifully told.

Other reviews
Twenty-eight critics have clocked in at Metacritic.com with a very impressive average rating of 84 out of 100.

— Denise Duguay

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